Tomorrow afternoon, I’m heading down to Charleston, South Carolina to meet my new niece Mikayla. She was born just two weeks ago. And I’m so excited to see her beautiful little face in person.
But, before I go, I have to make the difficult decision to euthanize my adorable hedgehog Ellie or wait until I get back. About two weeks ago, Ellie developed a degenerative nerve disease (similar to MS) that will slowly paralyze her. Over the last two weeks, her functionality and ability to access food has worsened.
As the leaves are changing colors, I’ve been thinking a lot about that—change. It’s so strange how much has changed in just the last few weeks. We’ve been blessed with a beautiful new family member and we lost one. My own little baby girl is slowly preparing for her own passing. My good friends are moving away. Life is coming in and changing things for us.
Change is a tough thing—at least it’s always been tough for me. You get to know life a certain way, and you know it well. Maybe too well. You start to take it for granted. You start to expect it’s a given. Like the fact that you’ll have Sunday brunch with the same friends every week. Or the fact that you’ll see your goofy uncle around Christmas. Or the fact that you’ll come home to your joyful little critter, running on her wheel.
But we’ve forget that it’s temporary. It’s all temporary. Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing is forever. And everything we’ve got right now really is a blessing. Change will come in eventually and shake things up. So we’ve got to appreciate it while we’ve got it.
I think change is so tough because we’re a bunch of clingers. We cling onto what we know because we think of it as ours. We cry that God or some higher being is taking it from us. But the truth is that it was never ours to own. No person or object was ever ours to own. Not even my Uncle Lino. Not even hedgehog Ellie.
We were just lucky enough to enjoy them for a while. And then change swoops in eventually.
See, we all focus on the destruction part of change. The taking away. The ending. The death. But change is also about new opportunity. It’s about new experiences. It’s about new life.
And I’m grateful to Mikayla for reminding me of that, as I look into her wide little eyes this weekend. Without change, we’d never have new creation, either. We’d never have new opportunities or the space for new things to come into our lives. Babies couldn’t be born without death—there’d just be no room for everyone. New jobs couldn’t happen without losing old ones. New relationships couldn’t be built without breaking down former ones.
That’s the cycle of life. That’s the cycle of change.
I woke up this morning and looked out my picture window to think. I’ve had a lot on my mind. And what I saw was falling leaves and bundled up people rushing down the street. The seasons are changing. Fall really has arrived.
And I was sad for a moment, realizing that I’d missed out on doing so much this summer. That I made plans that never happened. That life just whizzed on by me.
And then I looked over at Ellie in her cage and smiled. Maybe I didn’t do everything I wanted this summer, but I enjoyed what I did do. I savored the moments. And the winter will bring its own set of opportunities—with my birthday, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Aruba.
Life changes. That’s just what happens. And there’s no point trying to slow it down.
I’ve been so afraid of change for so long because I’ve always seen it as the world taking from me. But, these last few weeks, as tremendous change has been thrust upon me, I’ve realized something. I’ve realized that nothing is ever owned by me, so nothing can be taken from me. I’ve realized that every change brings along opportunity too. And I’ve realized that all I can do is appreciate the gift for the precious moments I get to spend with it.
Success isn’t about major accomplishments. It’s about individual moments of joy. It’s about appreciating each moment that you’ve got, knowing that it could disappear at any time. And it’s about welcoming the world into your life—including the change that comes with it.
Flowers fade. Leaves fall. Relationships end. Loved ones pass. It’s just a natural cycle. And, without it, I’d never have ended toxic relationships to go on to meet Garrett. I’d never have left my job to start coaching and writing for all of you. I’d never have the chance to meet my beautiful niece Mikayla.
So change isn’t all bad. There’s always some opportunity in there. And, if you let yourself, you can choose to savor every moment of it. Because you deserve it.
You really do.